May 26th, 2015
Celebrating ibb & obb’s one year anniversary on Steam we launch the Mac and Linux versions. We had a great first year on Steam with over 100.000 players owning the game for Windows PC. It feels good to now also have our coop friends available for those of you who are on Mac and Linux.
February 12th, 2015
ibb & obb launched on Steam May 26th 2014. So what are our numbers like after the first seven months?
(click images for full size versions)
Wooo spikes! But what does it mean?
Daily revenue is heavily influenced by two things: visibility and discounts. All the noticeable spikes in the graph correspond to a special Steam promotion. Let’s look at those in more detail.
We were quite happy with our first weeks on Steam. Especially as the game got far less press coverage than with our earlier PlayStation3 launch.
For three days ibb & obb was in the main banner on the front page, then moved to the smaller ‘Featured’ section underneath, where it stayed for a few more days. The graph shows a drop in sales after the first week which corresponds with the end of the 20% launch discount. The next two weeks without discounts or special store visibility we sold on average 77 copies each day.
First three weeks:
5800 copies / $72,600 revenue
(Earlier I wrote in more detail about our launch week here)
Steam’s summer sale is a big thing and ideally we would have launched a bit earlier, giving us some time between launch and the first big sale, but only three weeks in, Summer Sale started.
We set the discount to 20%. The same as the launch discount. Otherwise it felt unfair to our early buyers.
The sale lasted for 11 days. There’s a first peak on Saturday (night in Europe, day in North America) as most people are online then. There’s a second peak on the last day of the sale because people tend to wait until the last day to be sure that games don’t get a higher discount, which they do when they get featured by Steam.
We didn’t get featured. So the increase in sales is caused by people actively looking for discounted games and notifications sent out to people with ibb & obb on their wish list.
During the summer sale we had an average daily revenue of $1550, compared to $870 in the week before.
Summer Sale (11 days):
1700 copies / $20,200 revenue
Steam decided not to feature us during Summer Sale, but offered to schedule us for a Daily Deal promotion. The Daily Deal gets you a small banner spot on the front page of Steam for one day. We went for a 50% discount and scheduled the promotion for July 23, roughly a month after Summer Sale had ended.
The Daily Deal actually lasts for two days. The first day you have the front page banner, the second day the banner is gone, but the discount is still valid. Probably to make sure all time zones have a fair chance of noticing the deal.
The month in between promotions we had an average daily revenue of $350. The first day of the deal we sold for $32,050. The second day, without the banner, still did $10,090.
That’s $43,140 in just two days.
Daily Deal (2 days):
6000 copies / $43,140 revenue
The next four months were quite unspectacular. No special promotions or features. It told us more about how our ‘default’ sales look like.
Sales gradually slowed down from a daily average of 31 copies / $440 to 17 / $220. Even though sales went down by 50% it felt quite stable and players still managed to find ibb & obb without additional visibility.
Slow months (4 months):
2800 copies / $39,500 revenue
Humble Weekly IndieCade Bundle
In October we were part of a pay-what-you-want bundle for the first time. This Humble Weekly bundle celebrated previous award winners and new nominees of the IndieCade festival. We liked the idea especially because our IndieCade nomination in 2008 was a big push for us to get the game in production.
The bundle featured seven games in total and to get ibb & obb you’d have pay more than the average, which ended up being surprisingly high at around $7.
That week around 22,000 bundles got sold at an average of $7 for a total of over $150,000. A part goes to Humble and to charity. The rest is divided among the developers. After taxes and payment fees this resulted in $12,945 for us.
Looking at our Steam activations that month, about 50% percent of the bundle buyers activated their Steam key for ibb & obb.
Humble Weekly Bundle (7 days):
22,000 copies (11,000 activated) / $12,945 revenue
At the end of the year two more Steam sales were scheduled. One at the end of November and the second starting December 18, covering the Christmas holiday. As there was only two weeks time between the two sales we kept the discount for both at 50%. We didn’t get featured in these sales either, but still revenue was up compared to normal days.
During the November sale we had a daily average of 175 copies / $1170.
The December sale showed a very similar result: 172 copies / $1130.
Holiday Sales (23 days):
4,000 copies / $26,500 revenue
Overall results for 2014
All revenue numbers mentioned above are gross Steam sales. Of that Steam takes 30%. Our 2014 net revenue is $148,000 + $12,000 (Humble Bundle Weekly) = $160,000.
This gets split between the different parties that produced the game. Sparpweed gets 41% of that. So of each dollar made on Steam around $0.28 goes to us. Sparpweed’s Steam revenue amounts to $65,000.
Simply put, being on sale brings in extra revenue.
We offered discounts during both Summer Sale and the Holiday Sales. We didn’t get featured, but still had an increase in revenue. And it did not seem to negatively influence our default sales.
It’s scary how revenue is so dependent on promotions. We could have easily not been offered a Daily Deal and have missed $30,000 net revenue. That’s almost 20% of our revenue so far. In two days.
If we ignore the first few launch weeks, as I’m not sure how much sales during launch are influenced by the discount, Steam front page visibility, press and others spreading the news, around 68% of our revenue is from special promotions.
In contrast to that it is quite reassuring to see a reasonable long tail. At the time of writing it’s mid February and without any promotions sales have been pretty consistent at around 25 copies per day. That’s slightly more than before the Holiday sales and it covers quite a bit of our monthly costs.
I wish the numbers were less dependent on promotions and it feels weird to have to join the discount circus to be able to survive. At the same time it’s comforting to see that every day people find out about our game, decide not to wait for discounts and just buy it. If sales don’t dry up and we manage to be in a few decent promotions we’ll be able to survive for another year working on new games. In the end that’s all we really want.
66% of the Steam units sold are the double pack version selling at $13.99 (single pack is $11.99).
Roughly 22,000 people have ibb & obb on their Steam wish list.
The Steam version is Windows only. We’ll release Linux and Mac versions this year.
ibb & obb is also available on PlayStation3. We can’t disclose those numbers.
by Richard Boeser
June 5th, 2014
The big question of course is: What size boat can we afford now?
A week ago on Monday, May 26, 2014, we released ibb & obb for Windows on Steam. So how did we do this first week?
Some things to consider. We released ibb & obb on PlayStation3 in August last year. The PC version is very similar, with notable improvements in the online multiplayer and some small changes to the levels.
We chose to release on a Monday, because Valve suggested that might be a good day. Mondays tend to be less busy with updates and new releases and this turned out to be true. We were the only game releasing that day.
There are different ways of being visible in the Steam store. The best spot being the main banner at the top. Not all new releases get in there.
Valve put us in there for the first two days. Which seems pretty good and probably has to do with few games releasing those days.
The third day ibb & obb moved to the Featured PC Games and stayed there for one day. After that we were off the front page.
Prior to launch people would typically ask me how many copies I thought we’d sell. And I honestly didn’t feel I could properly predict this. It made me wonder if others could and we put up a small poll asking people to predict our week one sales.
We had 92 responses. With estimates ranging from 6 to 321654 it’s safe to say that some entries were less informed than others. However most did seem serious and the median of all was 7890.
The main banner is definitely the place to be. The first two days we sold around 3500 copies. Sales slowed down after that and when after day three we were no longer on the front page, it went down to around 250 copies a day.
We released four different packages. Next to the regular pack we offered a double pack. Additionally, both packages had a deluxe alternative that includes the soundtrack.
As ibb & obb is fully designed around co-op play, it seemed to make sense to promote the double pack. We priced it so that you get the extra copy for around 2 Euro.
The double pack became by far the most popular offer. Accounting for 68% of the units sold.
So where do these 4901 ibb & obb buyers live?
Looking at individual countries it’s Germany that surprised us, especially compared to the UK. For every copy bought in the UK, two are sold in Germany.
I’ll make a list later that maps the sales to population numbers. Which would make sales in Canada and Australia quite impressive.
There’s a lot of talk about it becoming harder to sell decent numbers on Steam. Steam is opening up and more and more games get released every day. For us 4901 is a good first week, but then again, sales have now gone down to around 70 a day and we don’t know how that will look in a month from now.
It’s scary to see the huge influence of the main banner. We had two great days because of that, but if we had released a few days later, we might not have been in there at all.
What went well?
- Timing. We think we (based on Valve’s suggestion) picked the right day to release. It’s not common any more to have a day with only one game release and we feel that helped us stay longer in the main banner.
- Double Pack. The double pack sold by far the most copies. The 4901 units sold actually means that around 7000 players now own the game. It also means a lot of people sent a gift to a friend, which is perfectly in line with what ibb & obb is about.
- Streamers. We managed to get quite some attention from Youtubers and Twitch streamers. Let’s Play videos fit the game well. It’s very easy to pick up and the co-op focus makes the interaction between players fun to watch.
- Germany : )
What could have gone better?
- Press. We only got a handful of reviews so far and hardly any attention from bigger sites. From some of them we know they didn’t cover the PC release, because they already reviewed the PlayStation3 version. With so many games longing for attention, that makes a lot of sense. Which means that for a smaller game like ibb & obb, a multi-platform launch might be necessary to get enough attention.
Then again, this might just mean our press release wasn’t all that good and our press list too short.
Back to the main question. What size boat can we afford now?
Note that the boat is second hand and would have to be shared between Sparpweed, Codeglue, Kettel, Tomasz Kaye and an investor. We might go with a fleet of small rubber boats instead.
January 3rd, 2014
Last week I posted ‘The ibb & obb End of Year Tribute Quiz’ to ibb & obb’s followers and in a few other places. The quiz showed 13 images, each tributing a game or studio that influenced ibb & obb’s design.
Thirty people submitted answers. Three managed to get a perfect score. Which I feel is pretty impressive as there are a few tributes I thought no one would get.
The questions and correct answers are below:
VVVVVV by Terry Cavanagh
A platformer that revolves around a gravity flipping mechanic. VVVVVV combines hard puzzles with a friendly atmosphere and a lot of character. It’s the kind of game I hope ibb & obb resembles.
Katamari Damacy by Namco
A core mechanic that is clear, accessible and imaginative, wrapped in craziness and Japanese poppy tunes. I can’t imagine anyone playing this and not smiling the whole time.
Braid by Number None
In a presentation, Braid’s designer Jonathan Blow talked about how he felt that players should be offered the opportunity to fully explore the mechanics in a game. The result of that thought can be found in the secret levels of ibb & obb.
Altered Beast by Sega
Altered Beast came bundled with the first console I had access to, the Sega Mega Drive (Genesis). I played this co-op with my brother many times. Even though the game itself doesn’t really appeal to me, I have very fond memories of those co-op sessions. I didn’t think many would get this one correct, but still almost half of the participants did.
Proteus by Ed Key and David Kanaga
I love Proteus’ color pallets. Unique and vibrant but never childish. Similar to what I wanted to achieve with ibb & obb.
This one turned out to be one of the hardest to guess. And was mixed up with Loco Roco a lot.
Ico by Team Ico
The true stars in Ico are the enemies. No huge raging demon like aliens here, but blurry black creatures that constantly back away from you and try to get a sneaky hit in. When one manages to knock you over, the other will grab your girl will try to take her to their own world behind the black pool of death. True scariness is not in the looks, but in the behaviour.
Limbo by Playdead
Limbo offers such a polished experience. There are a lot of subtle design choices to be found in this game. From the way the game starts to the seamless level transitions. The game seems to never disrupt you, it just flows.
Super Mario Bros. by Nintendo
I replayed Super Mario Bros. during the start of ibb & obb’s development. It’s amazing how up to date it still feels. Also Mario teaches us a lot about good secret design. The secrets feel as an integral part of the game world.
When I started my graduation project that led to concept of ibb & obb, Jenova Chen’s graduation prototype Flow, caught Sony’s attention and managed to make it to the PlayStation3. That was my dream and example back then and it feels crazy that it actually happened.
Thatgamecompany’s Journey became one of my all time favorites. It is so well designed with such a great understanding of the player experience. I’m sure it will influence me and many other designers.
This last tribute turned out to be the most difficult to guess. About one in three got it right. And a few clever votes for Fingle here.
August 14th, 2013
Today we celebrate our European launch.
The game is available in the PlayStationNetwork Store at €9.99 (or your local currency equivalent)
PlayStation Plus members get a 20% discount during the first two weeks.
The demo is free and will give you a good idea of what the game is like.
ibb & obb is all about exploring a new world and solving puzzles together so find a comfortable couch, grab a friend and give it a go.
August 6th, 2013
We have opened the champagne.
ibb & obb can now be played in North and South America. You can get the free demo or buy the game here:
Sony Entertainment Network Store
Find yourself a friendly obb and a comfy couch. Hope you’ll enjoy it.
Next week on Wednesday August 14 we’ll release the European version.
July 17th, 2013
I’m super happy to finally announce the dates for our PlayStation3 release.
Those of you living in North and South America will find the game in the PlayStation Store August 6.
The Sony Europe region will get the game a day later on August 7.
We are not sure yet if Australia and New Zealand will be included in that release. This depends on us getting the required rating on time.
Sony Japan and Asia regions will have to wait a bit longer as this is a bit more difficult to arrange.
For those of you in North and South America, ibb & obb is part of Sony US’ PLAY program, which will allow PS+ members a 20% discount and for all a discount when buying more than one of the four games.
More info on the PLAY program: http://blog.us.playstation.com/2013/07/15/playstation-store-play-4-new-games-for-summer
July 14th, 2013
Last week we were at Develop in Brighton to showcase ibb & obb as part of the Indie Showcase selection. Between the 10 selected games ibb & obb managed to grab the Jury award. Happy.
June 5th, 2013
So where are we now?
Currently we aim to finish the game in two or three weeks time. We have send a first test build to Sony which is currently being tested. The release date will mostly depend on how many of these test session we need to go through.
I wish I could give an exact date, but for now it seems better to wait a bit longer and see where we are in a few weeks time. Predicting release dates hasn’t been something we’re good at, so let’s not do that : )
October 7th, 2012
We have decided to postpone ibb and obb’s release.
“But why, wasn’t the game almost done?”
It is actually almost done, but looking at our current schedule we’d be able to release in November or December. Many people have warned us about releasing in these months, because the marketplace tends to fill up with many big releases. We have a very limited (non existent) marketing budget and it would be hard for us to get noticed this time of year.
Another thing people have been sceptical about is releasing the game without online multiplayer. Even though we strongly feel that playing together in the same room is the best way to play ibb and obb, it is true that most people expect online multiplayer in a Playstation Network game.
So we’ve decided to change our release plan and to add online multiplayer at launch. Technically this is a lot of extra work. Creating a smooth online experience is not the easiest of tasks. It will take some time to get this right.
The next few weeks we’ll start our first online tests, based on this we’ll be able to better predict when all will be ready. Right now we think it’ll be spring.
The waiting will be still a bit longer, but we think it is the right thing to do now.